Explaining Computers To Family

Discussion in 'Technology and Internet' started by boltardy, Sep 1, 2014.

  1. #1 boltardy, Sep 1, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2014
    I can understand it with my dad as a remnant of his stroke is he does need things written down to follow and then he can do that task (eg. he collects and buys stuff on ebay without problem) but I've never understood it with my mother.

    Even something like printing, if it was a new program to her, she'd ask before considering that as File/Print works on everything else she uses, the answer might lie in trying that. Again, she does her daily web browsing and email, etc. fine. We've a pretty stable set up that works well for both of them.

    But I (and a brother before - I gather they wound up coming to blows back in the days of Windows 98) when it comes to something new want her to have the freedom to think and try new things for herself and she wants lists of instructions. She is a very intelligent woman with no form of mental handicap.

    I can't remember what started this off but things didn't go well last night. I went sort of "mum, when you learned to drive in a Triumph Herald and then got the old A35, did you have to go back and ask what a gear lever is. Did you have to be shown where the brake pedal is or what a steering wheel does? Even if I put you in a bus, would you have to ask what a stop sign on the road meant?" Somehow she moved on to pianos from there referring to her trying to teach me some bits, to which I retort "yes that was piano and I know there are differences but if I was given a harmonium and asked to play chopsticks (about my limit...) would I be asking where the notes are or see it as similar enough to have a go?"

    So, I failed badly yet again...

    I'm really not sure family are the best to teach family but my serious question is how would I get her to sort of learn again.

    To go back to the idea of a file manager and how she can organise where she put things. And that there is a certain amount of commonality with programs (or at least the things she would be using - I go back to the days of learning the control codes on Wordstar, can to a limited degree handle vi, etc - maybe I should call hers desktop programs?) and get to much can be looked at as things with potential similarities rather than starting from scratch each time is what I'm looking for.
  2. You just need to show plenty of love to them :) That is the truth actually. There are so many things going on in their mind..

    What will my son think if I do something and screw up?
    I taught him everything. How can I bow down and admit "I don't know"?
    What if I break something cost money for my son?
    What am I going to do by learning so many things at this age?
    Is it even appropriate for me?

    Some things which might go through their mind.. The more love, importance and encouragement we give them, they will get the motivation to learn.. There is absolutely no capability limitation. Just the mindset. That only we can change. Something I learned through time
    boltardy likes this.
  3. I think you've come up with an excellent analysis.

    Your #2, I think is more "admit that he is trying to teach me this way with reason behind it and let him try to go about it his way" rather than "admit I don't know about computers". I think that's one reason I let my own fuse get much shorter than it should be. Maybe I just need to learn that can be hard for a mother to do and to adapt.

    You are right also that I'm not really thinking of what may be the roots of her worries.

    I'll leave it a couple of weeks to let things cool off and as I've a few other things I need to do. But next time I will try with more understanding.

    Ravindran likes this.
  4. I deal with lots of older folks who are customers. Quite often it is that they have reached a point that they simply do not want to do the study and research, but are content with someone helping them out if they need it. It has nothing to do with their intelligence, it's just not worth the effort and time in their opinion. We will all be there someday.

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